There were a few dissenting voices when the Rugby League introduced the Super 8s in 2015 but it seems on the evidence of this season’s contest they have backed a winner.
Saints international second rower Zeb Taia said: “It is the tightest competition there has ever been and after only two rounds, apart from runaway leaders Castleford Tigers, no one else can really afford to drop points if they want to qualify for the semi-final stages.”
Both fifth in the table Saints and second-placed Leeds surrendered two crucial points last week and will be hell-bent on returning to winning ways when they meet at Headingley on Friday night.
The Tykes won 24-22 at the same venue earlier in the campaign but crucially Justin Holbrook’s boys lost the services of the vastly experienced Matty Smith with a nasty eye injury after only six minutes.
Hopefully, a similar fate doesn’t lie ahead but Taia knows St Helens will have to produce a quality match-winning performance if they are to erase the bitter disappointment of last week’s 8-6 home defeat against Hull FC.
He said: “I believe Leeds are one of the best sides in the competition and we will certainly not be taking them lightly.
“They are a dangerous outfit but if we turn up with the right attitude and the right game plan, I’m confident we can come away with a win.”